Sunday, September 22, 2013

The threesome with Bruce at the mid-autumn festival

September 16, 2013

Hi everyone!  

I am so glad to hear grandpa's funeral went well.  I read over grandma's history this week and I realized that he was a visa waiter too and that grandma joined the church in her early 20s! Those were both cool connections to make and I really feel like they are helping me with this work.

We had an amazing week!  It was so busy and full of miracles!  Ah I just can't describe how wonderful it is to be here and work with these people and these companions.  Heavenly Father really knows what He is doing.

Here are some highlights

-We had 2 exchanges last week.  Sister Smith and I spent a day in the Portland area with Sister Jackman. Sister Jackman is also a visa waiter so we got to do language study together which was really fun!  The Portland area was BEAUTIFUL!  Michigan is gorgeous.  I love being here.  We also had Sister Powell with us on Wednesday from the St. John's area.  She is such an awesome and hardworking missionary.  I love learning from all of the different sisters we get to meet.  Sister Smith and I really missed Sister Richardson though.  Our trio is doing great and we love each other so much!  This week Sister Richardson and I will be hosting Sister Kaegi at MSU.  Sister Kaegi is another visa waiter from the Williamston area.  She is going to Sao Paulo Interlagos.  She looked so familiar the first time I saw her and I realized it's because she did late summer honors! Such a small world.  She was also in Brianna Vail's MTC district and she told me Sister Vail said to say hi!  I am excited to get to work with her.

-Our investigator Hu Wen Qi is doing great!  He is on date for this Saturday--we are really excited for his baptism!  We had a Chinese party on Friday which he came to and loved.  He has been making so many friends in the ward which makes all the difference!  We also had a potluck on Sunday after stake conference and he brought this elaborate Chinese pork.  He made it in the morning and then put it in Tupperware and kept it in his backpack during conference haha.

-More about the Chinese was a mid-autumn festival which is a holiday they celebrate in China.  It's focused on family I guess but it was so fun!  Bruce and Frank were in charge of planning it for the ward and they did a great job.  We ate moon cakes, did trivia questions (with wish lanterns as the prize), sang songs about families, and got serenaded by Frank on violin.  He was hilarious.  Sister Richardson has it on video but hopefully I can get it because it was too funny.  That party was such a hit, and I just felt grateful to be in this area.  I kept looking around the room and being so happy because I felt so lucky to know everyone there.  The Lord is blessing me!

-We had a cool experience about following the Holy Ghost the other day.  We prayed about where to go finding and we really felt like we should go to Service Road.  We walked there for nearly an hour and we didn't see a SINGLE person, which is especially bizarre because campus is so busy now!  I was feeling doubtful about if we should really be there and frustrated because we had like 30 minutes until our next lesson so we had to get back soon.  We kept walking, though, and we ended up seeing a person and we had an amazing conversation with him!  We have had 2 lessons with him since and he is coming to Hu Wen Qi's baptism this weekend.  It was a humbling experience because the Lord really does know best and we just need to trust in Him!  

-And last, but not least, stake conference was INCREDIBLE!  The whole thing was about missionary work. They had a special session right before the general session specifically for recent converts and investigators so that was pretty cool.  Then, they had 2 missionaries speak who are entering the field soon (including a girl named Michelle Page who is going to the Fort Collins mission!), a recently returned missionary, Bruce (It was incredible!  He has such a strong testimony and he made Sister Christiansen and me cry!  Sister Probert isn't in our stake anymore...we wish she could have seen it.  But it was amazing!), President and Sister Hess, and then the stake president.  Some other WMLs and such spoke as well and holy cow it was awesome!  Everyone focused on member missionary work and the spirit was so strong.  We ended the meeting with all of the missionaries in the zone singing “Called to Serve!”  I got to play piano which was a little nerve racking but it turned out really powerful.  The missionaries in this mission are amazing!  I feel blessed to know them and to learn from every single one of them!

Sister Hess said, "As members and missionaries, we are invited to participate in miracles."  I love that!  Missionary work truly is miraculous.  Thanks for all your support and love!  Have a great week,

Sister Dixon

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sitting by Sister Smith and below Sister Richardson

September 9, 2013

Oi family!

I hope the funeral goes well today.  Thank you for sending me the excerpts from the board and from the program.  I was touched!  That picture really is so special.

We had a great week here!  I was sad to hear the news about grandpa’s death, but I was comforted by reading D&C 138.  I know that grandma and grandpa are together now and that they are powerful missionaries in the spirit world.  It's cool to think they are doing the same work as I am up there--I can feel them rooting me on!

It's times like these that make me REALLY grateful for the gospel message.  I know death and sadness are still hard, but they would be so much harder if we didn't have the gospel and Christ in our lives.  And also, “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good” has become one of my favorite songs on my mission so I would love to hear your rendition when I get home!

Here were some highlights from this week:

-We had an amazing zone training!  We talked about becoming a consecrated missionary.  To consecrate means to devote yourself to a sacred purpose and I just love that we can fully commit ourselves to the work.  It's hard--giving up your time, thoughts, habits, and wants to missionary work is not the easiest thing to accomplish but it is amazing!  And I would also recommend reading the talk called "The Fourth Missionary" by Elder Corbridge.  Ah I love it so much!  Missionary work is about becoming someone and not doing something.  So great.  We also talked about a new key indicator we will use called ITBs.  It stands for Invitations to Baptize and we are trying to get at least 3 every week.  We are really stoked about this new standard and we think it will be a powerful tool to help others understand our purpose!  We set a goal to have 6 baptisms by the end of the year in our area and we feel like miracles will happen!

-We have a new investigator named Hu Wen Qi (pronounces Hoo When Chee) from China.  We have met with him a few times and this week we committed him to baptism at the end of September.  He came to church on Sunday too and absolutely loved it so we are really happy about that!  He is so hilarious.  Our stake president came to our ward on Sunday and when he got up to talk he said "good afternoon" and then paused for a while as he was getting his stuff all arranged and then Hu Wen Qi was like "awkward" in a Chinese accent.  Ah it was too good.  

-Our members are back and have been helping us out so much--they are amazing!  We have had dinner appointments every night this week and we have one every night next week too.  We feel so blessed for all they do for us.  It's fun to get to know them better as well.  I am attaching a picture from a dinner appointment we had this week with some cute girls in our ward!  Sister Smith is sitting next to me and Sister Richardson is above me.  They are both amazing!  This is not the best picture of all of us but hopefully we will get a new one soon.  We were going to take one this morning but we got drenched by rain on our way home from the bus stop with all our groceries!  The weather has been cooling down lots here.  I am loving it!  It's fall time and it's beautiful.  I love seeing all of the trees change colors.  Hopefully it doesn't start getting too cold though because I am not prepared for that at all!  

-The Gills sent me a package this week which was so nice!  It even had some Y-mountain honey in it.  Delicious!  I am going to write them a thank you note but it just made my day when I got that from them.

-We had exchanges this past week with the Lansing sisters.  I stayed in MSU with Sister Smith and Sister Webster came.  Sister Webster is also a visa waiter for Brazil.  She is going to the Sao Paulo Interlagos mission so it was fun to do language study together!  We had an awesome time.  Going on exchanges is so fun.  We have some lined up this week as well!  On Tuesday I'll be going to the Portland area and then on Wednesday we will have a different companion with us at MSU.  It should be exciting!  All of the sisters in our mission are amazing--it's so great to be able to work with them!

-We sang a song in sacrament meeting this past week.  It was called "This Is My Beloved Son" and I think it went pretty well.  Yifan recorded it again haha so look for it on YouTube.  He always calls himself "The Sister Missionary Choir's Number One Fan."  

-Jon Rose got his mission call this week to Nampa, Idaho!  He leaves in December and we are so excited for him!

-We have stake conference this next Sunday and the whole thing is focused on missionary work.  There will be a recent convert (Bruce) speaking, recently returned missionaries, and all of the missionaries in the stake are singing “Called to Serve.” I am so excited for it!  

-I saw Sister Hunter!  I don't know if you remember the Hunters when they lived in Highlands Ranch but I saw them at the church building on Sunday.  They just barely moved to the area because Brother Hunter got a job at MSU.  They were my Primary teachers when I was 10 so it was really cool to see her and both of us were shocked at what a small world it is!

We had such an amazing week!  I love working with these 2 sisters so much and we feel blessed to be in this area.

Sister Dixon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 3, 2013

Hi family!

It was a crazy P-day yesterday and we didn't get to e-mail but we were allowed to come and e-mail for a bit today.  This will be super short but I wanted to send a little something! 

Dad, I am really happy you are doing well!  That's pretty scary but I am glad everything worked out for you.  Thanks everyone else for the updates as well.  It's always exciting to hear from you and I am excited for school to start for you all.

We had an INCREDIBLE week here.  I love my new companions SO much.  We get along really well and they are such hard workers.  Sister Richardson is from Salem, Utah and she is so sweet and has such a strong testimony.  Sister Smith is from Roswell, New Mexico and is absolutely hilarious.  I love spending every day with them and we have been blessed so much this past week.  Campus is amazing right now!  There are so many people and it is such a blast to be able to talk to people all the time.  We usually had big gaps in between invitations to learn because there was barely anybody on campus to talk to but now we go from person to person and it is fun.  I am loving it and the new sisters are awesome at personal contacting.  Sister Richardson served at WMU before so she is used to being on a campus.  They played MSU on Friday and MSU won...she's in the better place :)

I had the best day I have ever had on my mission on Thursday!  We had so many lessons and new investigators and everyone was amazing.  We all got home and we were so happy and we said, "The only thing that would make today better is if Katie made us empanadas again."  (Katie is our neighbor.  She just got home from her mission in Argentina and she made us empanadas on Wednesday night.)  Lo and behold, we said our prayer to begin planning and we got a text right after and she was like "Hey sisters!  I made more empanadas, do you want some?!"  It was seriously the best day ever.  And we have seen many miracles like that left and right.  It's amazing!  My companions are so positive and fun to be around and missionary work is awesome here.

That's pretty much it on my end.  Sorry I am rushed, but I will write more next week!

Hope you have a great week of school!  I love you all!  Stay healthy, safe, and happy!

Sister Dixon

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saying goodbye to Sisters Probert and Christiansen

August 26, 2013

So transfer calls came.....and I AM STAYING AT MSU!!!! I am sooo excited to still be here.  But the crazy news is that both Sister Probert and Sister Christiansen are leaving me :(  We definitely didn't expect that to happen.  We thought Sister Probert would be leaving but Sister Christiansen would stay.  It's exciting and we know everything works out for a reason!  Sister Probert is going to Kalamazoo zone to serve as a sister training leader at WMU. From one campus to another!  And Sister Christiansen is going to Holt area which she is really happy about because transfers there were so fun!  I am getting two new companions tomorrow.  I seriously couldn't be happier about who my new companions will be!  I have Sister Smith from New Mexico--she is the one I have been going on exchanges with and she is SOOO awesome.  She is absolutely hilarious and such a great missionary.  We were talking on the phone the night before about how much we would miss each other if I got my visa and, lo and behold, now we are companions!  The other one is Sister Richardson.  I only met her briefly my first day here but she is awesome.  She is soo passionate about missionary work and about everything in life!  She was in the MTC with Sister Probert and Sister Probert absolutely loved her so I am just so stoked about this transfer.  They are both the sister training leaders for our zone so that will be fun for me to work with them as well.  That means I will be going on exchanges probably every week.  I love change and I love the opportunity to work with others so I am excited.  I am a little nervous about having to be the one to introduce the area but I think it's going to be awesome.  Everyone in the ward was shocked that only "the visa-waiter” (as they have dubbed me) is staying.  I feel so blessed because I love these people so much!  The last couple days have had lots of goodbyes and we took so many pictures with the people, so get ready for a huge load of pictures.

School starts officially on Wednesday; we are way excited!  It's going to be crazy!  Plus they have their first football game this weekend...I am not really sure how much work we will be able to do during games but I am excited to experiment.  It's fun to see how missionary work is always changing in this area depending on the season.  I will really have to pray for the ability to know WHO to stop and talk to because there will be so many people.  Before we would just hound anyone we saw because the people were few and far between.  I am so excited for this week!

In other news:

-We got bikes this week!  It's so fun.  We haven't actually ridden them anywhere besides morning exercise so I don't know how they will work with a skirt.  Stay tuned.  I feel like such a missionary when I ride them.

-The elders had an awesome baptism yesterday!  Her name is Lina Wang and Yifan got to baptize her.  It was a really spiritual and amazing baptism and it was cool to see Yifan doing that!  As soon as she came out of the water Yifan patted her back and said "Welcome to the Kingdom of God."  Unreal.  Lina is adorable.  We helped her after she got out of the font and she kept saying "I can feel that God is smiling at me."  We sang at the baptism too so be looking out for a new YouTube video (!  (People keep saying they hope the new sisters can sing--it's tradition for us to sing at every baptism now)

-Both Yifan and Bruce have grown so much.  We saw them on Friday night and they ran up to us and they were like "Sisters! Sisters!  Something amazing just happened!"  And Yifan kept saying "I can feel the Holy Ghost so strong right now!"  Anyway, they went to IHOP for dinner and the waitress gave them complimentary cups of coffee.  They told her they didn't want them and they ended up talking to her about the church and Yifan gave her a pass-along card.  Yifan said they were singing hymns the whole rest of the way home because they were so excited!  And then they went back later and gave her a Book of Mormon.  How amazing are they?!  We went to dinner with them on Saturday night too as a last hurrah and they are just so funny and so happy from the message of the gospel.  I feel blessed to know them and to be a part of their lives!

-We have been blessed with opportunities to teach and we think we will have some baptismal candidates very soon!  It's an exciting time and I love these people so much.

-There is a member here named Jon Rose.  He moved into the ward on the same day we met Bruce.  They hit it off so we would have Jon come to all of the lessons with us and he was the perfect fellowshipper for Bruce.  Anyway, he came up to us yesterday and almost started crying and said he turned in his mission papers and we were the reason he chose to serve a mission.  He wasn't planning on going before he came to live here.  It was so powerful and so humbling!  I love that about missions-- my decision to serve doesn't only affect me and my family, but it changes the lives of the people I serve.  And that will change their families’ lives in turn.  It's so cool to know the gospel influences generations.  I love being a missionary and that moment made my decision to serve SO worth it.

Sorry if that was a bunch of rambling, but the moral of the story is:  I am SO HAPPY to be at MSU for a while longer!


Sister Dixon  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

August 19, 2013

Hi everyone!

I can't believe how quickly time is flying.  We get transfer calls this Friday and it's nuts to know I have already been a missionary for 2 transfers here!  This is my last week of being in training too.  That means I'll be leaving the apartment an hour earlier to work.  It's going to be awesome!  But I will miss being trained by Sister Probert.  She was simply the best.  

Well we are all pretty nervous about transfer calls!  We pretty much knew the outcome last time since Sister Christiansen and I were still in training, but this time anything could happen!  And I might even get my visa.  Maybe next week I'll be writing you in Brazil?!  I am excited though for whatever happens!  I know it's all in God's plan and I'll be happy with whatever happens.  

We had an awesome week!  Here were the highlights:

-We got to go on exchanges!  Sister Christiansen and I went to Holt with Sister Smith and it was a blast!  She is such a good and positive missionary and it was a joy to work with her.  I really enjoyed being in a family area, too.  It's so different from a singles ward but I loved seeing what it's like.  It's cool to see how every area really does have many positives about it.  When you accentuate the positive things, every area and situation can be such a blessing! We taught a lesson in Holt to a lady who seriously had like 15 cats.  And a little known fact about Sister Christiansen is that she LOOOOVES cats.  She was in heaven and she had several cats on her throughout the whole lesson.  It was funny to see.  Another great thing about Holt was that Sister Smith taught me about thinking positively.  She has a hard time in the mornings and another missionary taught her to say "Life Is a Grand Adventure" when she wakes up.  I have been doing it too and it gets me excited for every day!  Life really is a grand adventure.  Sometimes people get caught up with how similar each day on the mission is.  But when you think about it as an adventure you get to see that you learn new things every single morning and you meet new people every single day and it's just the coolest!  I'm probably going to use this phrase so much now; brace yourselves.

-We had zone conference this week.  It was incredible, as are all of the trainings we get to have.  We mainly learned about the Holy Ghost, sarcasm, and asking inspired questions.  I love learning these things and I love that missionary work is all about constantly striving to do better!  Complacency is the worst and I am grateful we are always pushed to be our best.  We also talked about our mission vision statement a ton.  I thought I would share it because I really love reciting it every day.
The Michigan Lansing mission consists of missionaries who live what they teach.  We are here to do what Jesus would do if he were in our area and position.  We are here to do the Father's will as found in the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, the teachings of our leaders, and by following the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  We invite Heavenly Father in specific ways to help us, the members, investigators, and other missionaries do His work.  We are here to work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength and to lose ourselves in the service of our fellow men.  Our motivation for service is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, hope in His atoning sacrifice, and charity, the pure love of Christ with an eye single to the glory of God.  We study and plan daily to prepare ourselves to teach by the Spirit.  We open our mouths at every opportunity to teach and we find while we teach.  We work with a unity as a mission according to the laws of the celestial kingdom.  
Isn't that awesome?!

-Mishaps on the bus this week...I accidentally sat in paint or something on a bus ride.  I got off and started walking and my companions started laughing so hard.  Hopefully it comes off in the wash!  And I left my scriptures on the bus this week.  It was pretty devastating!  I had to trade spots because someone with a wheelchair came on and my scriptures ended up being lost in translation.  I was praying I would get them back because they mean so much to me. I kept calling the bus station to see if they had been found and luckily after 3 days they called me and said they were there!  Prayer is real and I am so grateful.  I love my scriptures so much and I will definitely take better care of them from now on, haha.

-So many people are here!  School starts next week and campus is crazy!  Not everyone is back yet but all of the international students and freshman have been arriving--it's been sooo fun to go finding.  Yesterday we talked to a guy named Blessing from Zimbabwe.  He opened up so much and told us his whole life story.  It was devastating and I feel very grateful for how the gospel has blessed my life.  He is Christian and has found so much help and comfort through Jesus Christ!  We shared the Book of Mormon with him and will hopefully be meeting with him soon but I just love how cool it is that I get to talk to many amazing people every day!

-Bruce gave a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday.  It was very good and it was just so fun to see him up there.  He is amazing.  I wish all of you could meet him.  And, after his talk, he got word he is speaking in stake conference in a few weeks!  Isn't that crazy?!  I don't think he realizes how nervous he should be but man, they really picked someone amazing!  I hope I get to see him speak.  

I love you all!

Sister Dixon